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Will spring 2012 be a season of coexistence?

Curious Squirrel
Curious Squirrel
Carol Ann Swan

In five weeks, it will officially be spring. As such our furry friends and winged acrobats will emerge to find food, shelter, and mates. For the most part, New England has avoided the wrath of Mother Nature this winter. This got me thinking. Will the lack of the harsh winter weather yield an increase in spring animals? After all, winter tends to balance out many animal populations such as deer by taking with it the weak.

If I am right that spring might see an over-population of some of our animal friends, I thought it important to express the importance of learning to coexist with our four legged and winged neighbors. Living in Connecticut, we are blessed to have such a vast amount of wildlife. Throughout the state we have living amongst us Moose, Black Bear, Fox, Coyote, Black-footed Ferrets, Fischer Cats, Deer, Raccoons, Opossums, Skunks, Rabbits, Gray Squirrels, Red Squirrels, Flying Squirrels, etc… And I am not even going to try listing the bird species, variety of bats, reptiles and amphibians taking up residence.

Therefore, I urge all of you to consider taking a few moments out of your time to familiarize yourself with Connecticut’s wildlife. For starters, you can visit the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection wildlife page. Then try visiting your local library or bookstore. Taking the time to learn about your wildlife neighbors will enable you to handle any encounters in a well-informed manner without panicking like most people tend to do.

Once you learn about what is in your back yard, take a second to inspect your home. Animals such as squirrels and similar rodents only need a hole the size of their face to get into your basement or attic. Once inside your home; these animals can inflict a lot of damage, not out of spite, but mostly because they are scared. By taking time out of your schedule to inspect your foundation, doorways, chimneys, etc…you can help eliminate any unwanted visitors from coming over.

Other tips to consider include moving bird feeders farther away from your home and keeping trash receptacles secure. Many animals tend to be opportunists and would rather raid your trash for a free meal. By removing the food source, you will help keep unwanted animal encounters to a minimum.

And finally, do not be scared of wildlife. I have met way too many people living in the state that are afraid of anything on four legs. This is such a wasteful way of thinking. If you educate yourself, you can live with our animal friends with respect instead of fear.

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